A member of staff was told he would need to complete an HNC course as part of his ‘career grade’ job and as part of his development agreement. It was not a course he personally had requested to go on.

After the first year the staff member had passed and was due to start the second year of study. However, the newly employed T&D Manager said it was policy to agree to sign a pay-back form in the event the staff member leaves. The T&D Policy is ambiguous as in one paragraph it states that any training agreed in the ‘development agreement’ does not need to be signed off; yet the next paragraph states if the organisation is to sponsor a qualification that the staff member wishes to persue, then they will need to sign a pay-back agreement.

Where does this employee stand legally? Would he be forced to pay back in the event of his resignation even though it was retrospective and he had not been made fully aware of the policy? Or would the fact that it was a course of study he was told he had to attend rather than one he wanted for personal development reasons mean he doesn’t need to pay-back in the event of resignation?

Appreciate any help on this. Thanks
tm taylor